3rd July 2018, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, England; International Twenty20 cricket, England versus India; KL Rahul of India celebrates as he reaches his century and guides India to victory (photo by Alan Martin/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Kohli Proffers, KL Rahul Gleefully Accepts

Indian Captain Virat Kohli admirably sacrificed his No. 3 spot to accommodate KL Rahul in the team and the latter gleefully accepted the proposition.

In the first T20I between India and England, as India came out to bat first and lost the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan early, all eyes rested on one thing. The crowd stood in anticipation expecting Virat Kohli to come out to bat for India at No 3.

Of course he would, he always does.

However, the fans were left surprised when they saw KL Rahul coming out of the pavilion.

Blimey! did that really happen?

Admirable sacrifice

The Indian skipper had actually sacrificed his No. 3 spot to accommodate the young Karnataka batsman KL Rahul. Rahul had a great IPL season scoring 659 runs at an average in excess of 50 and was in contention for the Purple cap. More than the runs that Rahul scored, it was the manner in which these runs were scored that impressed all and sundry.
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In the second T20I against Ireland, the first chance that KL Rahul got, he cashed in with breezy half-century. Doing so, the right-hander staked his claim for a permanent spot in the ODIs and T20Is. His efforts did not go in vain as the selectors picked him in the playing XI for the first T20I against England.

No sign of jitters

Never for a moment did we feel that the stylish batsman felt out of place. All along, there was a feeling as if Rahul belonged at the biggest stage. The sumptuous cover drives and the sweetly timed flicks were a testament to the class that he possessed. Along with Rohit Sharma, he almost killed the game there and then within the first 10 overs.

As Rahul brandished his bat coupled with the characteristic celebration, there were tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. At the helm was also the man who had rendered this possible- Virat Kohli. The two had a warm embrace as the skipper tried to calm Rahul’s nerves.

Echoing remarks

“He’s got a great technique, great temperament and is very hungry and today he was a bit emotional because the last century he scored was against England in Chennai and it’s been that long he’s been waiting for. It was a great century and a great sign for Indian cricket,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

In a fun chat with Dinesh Karthik after the match, Rahul himself revealed what he felt about the momentous innings.

“Being out of form is getting out in single-digits, but that wasn’t happening. I was getting starts, I was batting well. Obviously a couple of injuries, going in and out of the team . . . not finding a spot after some time has always been tough. So to get that opportunity and deliver, to get that three-figure mark – I’ve always said that I’ve not been somebody who has chased numbers, but when I wasn’t getting the three-figure mark, that’s when I really realised how important three figures was,” said the 26-year-old.

Credit to Kohli

However, amid all this, one must not forget the sacrifice that Kohli made for Rahul. Beyond doubt, Kohli is the greatest batsman in the Indian ODI setup. Nobody would have complained if he had come out to bat at No 3 in a bid to face maximum deliveries.

However, he gave way to the youngster for the greater good of the team.  This gives a message far and wide that no individual is bigger than the game and Kohli must be given credit for this.

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